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Procedure to start a travel agency in Dubai, UAE

September 9, 2022by Harneet Bhatia

Dubai is known as a prime destination for tourists around the world. For this reason, a travel agency in Dubai may be a smart business choice. Since the UAE is a preferred country for visitors, you can take advantage of this fact and open a travel agency to boost your income.

In this article, we will explain the answer to: how can I start a travel agency in Dubai? For you to get the best advice for experts on business setup. This is the chance to start a promising business in the most solid economy of the Middle East. Let us observe:

1. Procedure to start a travel agency in Dubai

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was detrimental to the tourism sector in many cities. But, since there are no travel restrictions anymore, the number of tourists is expected to increase. In fact, the Tourism Vision 2020 of the UAE had a target of 20 million visitors and it is expected to reach that number within this year.

For this reason, it is the best time to start a travel agency in Dubai and have a successful business. Moreover, the official statistics predict that the tourism sector will be among the most lucrative ones in the future, and it will create more than 700.000 jobs in the UAE.


Travel agencies are a good business since they are constantly gaining new clients. Furthermore, with a tourism establishment, you can take advantage of the wonderful features and landscapes in Dubai to start making a profit.

Starting a business in Dubai is a simple process, but if you do not have enough knowledge about the process, you may not know how to go through it successfully. Moreover, you have to make sure to comply with the requirements and the rules to ensure you do not have any trouble with the law.

If you want to open a travel agency in Dubai you have to follow the next steps:

1.1 Determine your business activity

The first step for opening your travel agency in Dubai is to establish your business activity. This refers to selecting the type of activities you are going to perform.

For example, you may want to operate merely as a travel agency, or you want to work as an inbound tour operator or an outbound tour operator.

It is important to determine what you want to offer to your clients since you will have to select this on your license application. However, there is the option to apply for the three types of activities in your license. This way you will have no limitations when it comes to the activities you want to perform.

With an inbound operator license, you can offer tours within the city limits, while with an outbound operator license you can offer travel packages abroad. And, with a travel agent license, you can carry out several activities such as selling plane tickets, making hotel reservations, and more.

For this reason, it is crucial to determine what you want to do and what you are going to offer to your clients.

1.2 Select a business name

Every business in the UAE should have a trading name. However, you have to follow the rules so it can receive approval.

You cannot use profanities or bad words in your company’s names, and neither registered trademarks nor your personal name. Moreover, if you want to include words such as “international”, “east”, and “global” you may have to pay an additional fee.

In addition, you have to consider three different names, so when you submit your application you can get approval in case the first name is already taken by another company.

1.3 Business license application

Once you have decided on your business name, you have to start the business licensing process. If you want to open a travel agency in Dubai, you have to apply at the DED.

The DED is in charge of issuing trade or business licenses, which are important documents for establishing your business. Regardless of your sector, you need to have a business license to operate legally in the UAE. But, first, you need to prepare your documentation.

Therefore, you have to consider which type of business entity you want to incorporate. Most business owners opt for an LLC since it gives more benefits. In this case, you will have to provide, along with your business license application, the Memorandum of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, NOCs, shareholders’ passport copies, and more.

Some businesses may require additional or external approvals that are issued by relevant authorities. In the case of a travel agency, you have to request approval from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

1.4 Tourism license application

To obtain the tourism license for your travel agency in Dubai, you must apply at the DTCM and determine which additional license you want: inbound operator, outbound operator, or travel agent.

But, keep in mind that you can receive the three types of licenses with a single application. You will need to submit additional documentation such as a business plan, clean criminal record certificate, and others.

Once you receive your license you can start operating as a travel agency and getting clients to purchase your services. It is important to consider that the license has an expiration date, and you should renew it 30 days before it expires.

Regarding the questionHow much does a travel agency cost in Dubai?” It will depend on the type of activity and license, as well as the location you have chosen. You can rent an office in a business center.  Consider additional expenses that will add up to the final cost.

Procedure to start a travel agency in Dubai,

1.5 Apply for employee visas

To reside legally in the UAE, you need to have a residency visa. The best news is that with most Free Zones businesses comes visa eligibility. Therefore, you can get your investor visa and start operating in the country.

Getting your business license is not the last step of the process, since you need to start operating your travel agency, and to do this you will need to have employees. In this regard, if you want to hire foreign professionals you have to apply for the respective visas.

You have to start the process by applying for an entry permit for the employees. After receiving this document, your employees may enter the UAE and continue the process. This way, they will obtain an employment visa so they can work and reside in the country.

To apply for employment visas you will need to submit the following and apply at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs (GDRFA):

  • Business trade license
  • Establishment Card
  • Passport copies

In Connect Middle East, we offer you our visa services if you want to receive additional help with this matter. We help you gather all the documentation of your employees, submit and process the applications, and more.

1.6 Open a bank account

The final step for having your travel agency in Dubai is to open a corporate bank account.

In the UAE, several financial institutions offer banking services so you have to choose wisely. It is important to select one that offers great benefits so your travel agency does not face any issues.

To open the bank account you have to submit your trade license, thus you have to do this process after you receive it. Moreover, when it comes to corporate bank accounts, some banks require you to have a continuous minimum balance of AED 5000 to 1 million. And, some agencies may request proof of residency status.

2. Company formation experts

As you can see, there are many steps required for establishing your travel agency in Dubai. If you feel overwhelmed, you can always contact company formation experts to back your processes.

Here at Connect Middle East, we help you set up your tourism establishment in the UAE Mainland or a Free Zone. We ensure you have the right paperwork and an error-free application.

The benefits of hiring business setup consultants are the following:

  • Smooth company incorporation
  • Easy business licensing
  • Assistance with collecting the required paperwork
  • Hassle-free application process
  • Reduced risk and no errors
  • Competitive rates to fit your budget

2.1 How can company formation experts assist you with starting a travel agency?

Having local experts that provide valuable insights is always helpful for starting a new business. With the help of specialists, you can overcome the challenges of doing business in the UAE.

Furthermore, since an experienced agency has a wide network and knowledge about the process, it can ensure a low-cost business setup.

Therefore, with an agency, you can find a solution that adapts to your budget. This way you will not have to worry about dealing with tedious tasks and excessive costs.

So, why should you partner with a service provider like Connect Services Middle East?

  • You can save time and resources that you can later invest in expanding and growing your business
  • Ensure a smooth business setup to enter the market effectively
  • Have a straightforward company incorporation
  • Reduce costs and get a business setup that adapts to your limited budget
  • Ensure your business is compliant with the law
  • Get help with additional aspects such as visa applications, office leasing, and more.

3. How much does a travel agency cost in Dubai?

When it comes to the cost of your new business, it is important to consider several aspects such as the following:

  • Company size
  • Number of owners
  • Business activities
  • Jurisdiction

Although starting a business in the UAE can be costly, you can reduce expenses by opting for a company with a single owner with eligibility for one visa.

This will make you pay less, but you may not be able to apply for visas. For this reason, it is important to consider very well your options. The cost for a travel agency may be around AED 20,000 but in Connect Middle East, we offer you outstanding packages so you do not exceed your budget.

We will help you obtain your tourism license, whether for an inbound or outbound operator or travel agent, by adapting us to your requirements. We offer competitive prices so you can select the best option for you. Whether you want a Free Zone Company or a Mainland Company we can offer you an excellent solution.  

4. This is how Connect Services Middle East will help you

At Connect Middle East, we want to help you start a travel agency in Dubai. We are experts in business setup in Dubai mainland and different freezones, and we have the best specialists that will assist with the entire process. As a top consulting firm in the UAE, we can manage every aspect so you can set up your establishment successfully.

By partnering with us, you can achieve your business goals and increase your revenue. Moreover, in our agency, we offer additional services to ensure you get everything you need to get started:


Do you want to open a travel agency in Dubai? Contact us now to receive a tailored service and get access to our outstanding packages. Call us at +971 43 316 688 or send us an email at We are readily available to answer all your inquiries about setting up a travel agency in Dubai.

Harneet Bhatia

Harneet Bhatia is the Sales and Compliance Officer at Connect Group. She is specialized in Company Setup Services , golden visa uae , Business Consultancy and Sales Assistance. She is working within Middle East and UAE. Also she has done her Master of Business Administration in Literature.

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